We need Heeb like we need a hole in the head

I’m new at Jewschool from deep within the Orthodox world. In a more perfect world my first post would be more thoughtful and I’ve got some of those in the works. In the meantime I’ll just be provocative and tick some people off. Here goes nothing.
Heeb magazine was kind enough to perpetuate a nasty canard about Orthodox Jews by displaying a sheet with a hole in it on the cover of its sex issue with the title “Holy Sheet! It’s the sex issue”. Aside from the corny joke and the gratuitous cleavage (take note Jewlicious), it’s a really obnoxious slight against Orthodox Jews. For once and for all, we don’t have sex through a hole in the sheet. It’s just an urban legend that anyone capable of using Google or looking something up on Snopes.com would know. Even if Heeb knows it isn’t true, it’s not fair game for a joke any more than any entire community’s sexual habits are. Have you ever seen a magazine cover joking about father’s day in Puerto Rico? I don’t think so.
Although the protests that Judaism is entirely against such practices aren’t entirely true. There are branches within Orthodox Judaism that teach ascetic practices like having as little pleasure as possible from sex. Ger chasidism is one. But that is very very far from mainstream and even they don’t use a sheet with a hole in it. Take a step back and compare to Christianity. At least our ascetics are getting married and having sex. Theirs are depriving themselves for their whole lives. But that’s entirely out of mainstream and anyone reading this will never meet an Orthdox Jew who is even remotely like that.
There is a bizarre website called Hole In The Sheet that claims that the origin of the hole-in-the-sheet myth is

This is a nasty urban myth propagated from Orthodox men hanging their “talit kattan” on the clothesline to dry, since the talit kattan is a rectangular undershirt garment with a circle cut out for the head.

Either way shame on you Heeb for perpetuating the canard! We need such nonsense like a loch in kop.

29 thoughts on “We need Heeb like we need a hole in the head

  1. It is a slur against Jewish Textile store owners than it is for Jews generally.
    I’m glad that your complaint was on the sheet joke rather than the celebration of the sin of the Golden Calf.
    Obviously that’s acceptable to you, since you didn’t mention any of those pictures.
    Glad you liked those.
    You haven’t opened the magazine, have you?

  2. Wow. I like this lechayim guy! Sadly, secular American Jews have become so far removed from actual real Jewish practice that many don’t think the sheet thing is a joke. They think that’s really how Hassidic Jews have sex. So ha ha ha. Way to perpetuate a Jewish stereotype. Look for Heebs next cover to be a picture of Barbara Streisand picking up a penny.
    I know, I know. They are ironic and irreverent. But really, the shtick is getting boring. Well, its actually been very boring since like issue 2. Lechayim, pay Kelsey no mind. There’s really no need to open the magazine. Talk about bitul Torah! That thing’s bitul chaim, bitul zman. You’re not likely to have missed much by not opening the mag.
    But I’ll buy it anyway. Cuz I’m dumb like that. And sheet or no sheet, Sarah Silverman is one honkin’ eyshet chayil!

  3. “…father’s day in Puerto Rico”
    Huh? I don’t get it.
    P.S. Dear Ms. Silverman: My spamblock word is “friction”. No kidding.

  4. what kind of sexually asthetic practises do the hassidim of gur engage in.. [this keyboard’s question mark doesn’t work..]

  5. “Huh? I don’t get it.”
    Most confusing day of the year.
    “what kind of sexually asthetic practises do the hassidim of gur engage in”
    Word on the street is that they do it as little as possible without violating halacha and that there’s no foreplay. But I don’t know for sure because they are very quiet about this and I’ve never tried to get it on with a gerrer.

  6. I can’t understand what the problem is.
    As an orthodox jew, I found this downright funny. It’s great to make fun of myths. If you have a problem with it, you definitely shouldn’t be reading the Big Book of Jewish Conspiracies, or watching television for that matter. The fact is that as Jews we should be able to make fun of ourselves, laugh at ourselves, and realize that some things are tongue in cheek. You are a prime example of whom Heeb is not targetted towards.

  7. Interesting post. I’m planning to go buy the magazine before I comment on the placement of the hole…but I literally have to answer this question once every few months. On a slightly related note, there was a sketch (Upright Citizens, or Mr. Show, I don’t remember) about this guy who could do anything he wanted to, as long as it was through a hole in the sheet…even though it employed this myth/stereotype, I thought it was a subtle and rather brilliant comment on the concept of situational observance. Which is, I’m SURE, what they were intending…
    And my spamblock word is “Semitic,” which I believe also makes me “one honkin’ eishet chayil.” I’m sure my Heeb cover is coming soon.

  8. i’d like to agree with anonymous –c more than with anyone else on this one, but i’m not a prime example of whom Heeb *is* targeted towards
    i don’t really care what Heeb is “intending.”
    they will sell magazines
    if there *is* a deep article on situational observance great!
    situationally, the golden calf could have been worse, i suppose …
    still, no reason to “celebrate” it

  9. There was an intelligent article in Moment magazine (last month I believe) by a 20 something who believes that money allocated towards making Judaism cool and oh-so-hip is wasteful, and not effective. I’d agree (I spent 5 years doing marketing/consulting for Fed CJA. In the end, Chabad did WAY MORE good for our community with WAY LESS resources and WAY LESS hip material. And no, I ain’t a chabadnik). And perhaps this is only true in Toronto…but Heeb seems to sit on store shelves, and sit…and sit…and sit.

  10. Mason, Heeb’s success at the newsstands doesn’t convince me that their magazine ISN”T crap. It’s unnecessarily trendy, self-righteous, and aims for shock value instead of something resembling intellect. Sell outs.
    And this hole in the sheet thing? Pure bullshit. The Torah permits a wife to divorce her husband if she’s not happy with the motion in her ocean, or lack thereof. Sexual satisfaction constitutes a couple’s objective, in combination with a mental connection. I’m lookin’ for some aye’s on this one, from youfrummies out there.

  11. from deep within the world of closeted jews in california, i’ll tell you that i think the photo is funny. heeb hits and misses on alternate pages. this cover is funny. canards are funny.it’s obviously meant as a sendup. lighten up people.
    whatever, flame me.

  12. Muffti has to say that it’s pretty funny, whether it pokes at an actual or fictional practice. Muffti doesn’t see why this is supposed to be true:
    “Even if Heeb knows it isn’t true, it’s not fair game for a joke any more than any entire community’s sexual habits are.”
    Muffti doesn’t see why a community’s sexual habits shouldn’t be poked fun at, ESPECIALLY by people who are directly related to the community. If there were a group of Canadians from Toronto who were held up to be paradimatically Canadian, and they had sex only while watching hockey night in Canada, Muffti would be pretty inclined to make fun of his co-countrymen. In fact, there’s an old canadian joke like that:
    Q: Why do canadians do it doggy style?
    A: So they can both watch HNIC.
    FInally, Muffti would like a clarification regarding the use of the word ‘gratuitious’. What exactly is gratuitous about the cleavage? Surely something is gratuitous only relative to some goal: if Heebs goals is to project a juxtaposition of something which (if only mythologically) is a symbol of hiddeness regarding sex and something which is a paradigm of revealingness when it comes to sex (since cleavage in America is the sexiest skin one can show on a cover, Muffti guesses) then how exactly is it gratuitous?

  13. ” I do have sex through a hole in the sheet, but that’s mostly because the prostitutes I can afford are not so attractive.”
    So try someone different: a shiksa. Nu?

  14. The Muffti Muffti keeps talking about is none other than the Grand Muffti.
    And that Muffti agrees that cleavage helps sell magazines. But they could have just stuck a big pair of boobs and called it a day. The ‘clever’ bit, if you want to call it that, was the juxtaposition.
    ORTHODOX jews can make all the jokes they like. Did the Muffti miss the point?

  15. You can make a joke about your OWN community. But sadly Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews are not one community. There are plenty of mean jokes that go both ways although usually one particular way, and they are not poking fun of your own community. They are mocking another community.

  16. Ah, Muffti sees what you mean. He’s not sure that the lines between the communities is a very sharp one, and he’s not sure why communities can’t rib eachother once in a while. If it makes you feel better, the Orthodox over at Jewlicious make fun (in the form of insults) the secular community day and night. ‘xcept on Shabbat.

  17. Talmud Yerushalmi: when a man dies and he left his wife with no children his brother must take his wife and give her children in the dead brother’s name, thus ONE man by the name of Yossi ben Chalafta decided that SINCE he is simply doing this as an act of procreation to carry on his brothers leaniage he decided to do what he was commanded through a hole in a sheet so that he is not turned on by his brother’s wife. As in to honour the fact that this is simply for children and family leaniage and not for physical pleasure.

  18. I’ll be damned! (hope I can that word here)
    I’d always heard that the “hole in the sheet” notion came from the Shulchan Aruch. Even if it didn’t, you’ve got to admit that this book has some pretty awful notions about how women should relate men.

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